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The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) recently participated in a large-scale deployment of U.S. military cargo. The operation took place at the port’s Blount Island Marine Terminal March 25-26.
“The support of JAXPORT and its skilled labor force ensures that we have the right tools to carry out our mission seamlessly from start to finish,” said Lt. Col. Altwan Whitfield, Commander, 841st Transportation Battalion. “The most challenging part of a deployment operation is ensuring the synchronization of all of the elements, it is not a one-person show – it’s a team effort,” Altwan said.
Vessel loading operations were organized by Soldiers and civilians assigned to the Blount Island-based 841st Transportation Battalion, in coordination with operations officers assigned to the 597th Transportation Brigade at Fort Eustis, Va., and cargo specialists with the 1st Military Sealift Command from Puerto Rico and the Florida Army National Guard’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Stevedores with JAXPORT partner SSA Atlantic loaded about 750 pieces of tactical vehicles and other equipment onto the Naval ship USNS Bob Hope. The equipment will be used in DEFENDER-Europe, a multi-national training exercise conducted by U.S. Army Europe and Africa. DEFENDER-Europe exercises will take place across 12 European countries beginning in May.
The goal of the mission is to build strategic and operational readiness and interoperability between the U.S. and its NATO allies and partners.
“One of JAXPORT’s most important roles is serving the community as one of the military’s strategic seaports,” JAXPORT Chairman Jamie Shelton said. “By investing in our facilities and maintaining a world-class port, we ensure that we can continue to support our service members and the important work they do to protect our national security.”
“Exercises like this one take extensive coordination and planning – and relationships are an invaluable part of the process,” said JAXPORT Chief Operating Officer Fred Wong. “The successful execution of such a large-scale move highlights our long-standing relationship with the military, the capabilities of our workforce and facilities, as well as Jacksonville’s outstanding highway and rail connections.”
As one of the nation’s 17 strategic seaports, JAXPORT is on call 24/7 to move U.S. military cargo for national defense, foreign humanitarian aid and disaster relief. JAXPORT is the only port in Florida with this designation.
The 841st Transportation Battalion is the single port manager for all Department of Defense cargo moving through seaports on the Eastern Seaboard and through the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. More information about Defender-Europe 21.
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